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High School Students Hold Vigil For Sandy Hook Shooting Victims

Many observances are taking place today to mark one week since the school shooting in Newtown Connecticut.  A student initiated vigil was held at a high school in Springfield Massachusetts. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff filled the auditorium Friday morning at Springfield’s High School of Commerce to remember fellow students, friends and colleagues who were killed by a gunman at the Sandy Hook School.   The vigil included a song, and  several student authored poems read aloud by their teachers

The names of the 26 victims were read. There was a moment of silence, during which small battery powered candles or illuminated cell phone screens were held aloft in the darkened auditorium. Several students could be seen weeping.

Tanika Hollins, one of the students who helped organize the vigil said she was deeply moved by the loss of so many innocent lives.

When students approached the administration with the idea for a vigil it was immediately embraced.  School Principal Charles Grandson said he was proud of their compassion and concern for others.

The vigil had been planned for outside in front of the school, but was moved to the auditorium because of a driving rainstorm.   Art classes produced a banner that was on the stage. It read High School of Commerce Cares. It depicted angels set against a dark blue sky.  There were posters with pictures and remembrances of each of the 26 victims taped to the auditorium doors.  Students mad more than a thousand green and white ribbons for their classmates to wear today.

Assistant Principal Michele Heim said students stayed after class and came to school early in the morning all week to prepare for the vigil.

120 students in the tenth grade English class taught by Sonny Cirincione each wrote a poem.

Elsewhere, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick led a moment of silence at  the Garden of Peace Plaza in Boston.  Bells at numerous churches, and the clock tower at Mount Holyoke College tolled 26 times. MotherWoman, a non profit family support organization along with other community groups held a gathering at Edwards Church in Northampaton. People there had an opportunity to sign letters to President Obama and Congress urging a substantive plan to end gun violence.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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